Thread Talk From My Sewing Machine #67

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Hello Friends, today’s post is a mixture of looking back and looking forward!  You will see what I mean.  I quilted with 100wt silk thread when I first started machine quilting on my domestic machine back in 2006.  Undoubtedly the effect of quilting with 100wt silk thread on fine fabrics is spectacular!

Very soon after that, I heard about the Aurifil Mako 50 cotton threads being used for machine quilting.  I would still quilt with the 100 wt silk threads if the opportunity arises, but I feel like Aurifil Mako 50 cotton threads allow me to quilt fancy as well as practical — I can still have amazing quitling results, and have the Aurifil Mako 50 cotton threads hold up the quilt sandwiches well enough for practical uses.   I personally wouldn’t use a quilt made with silk dupioni that is quilted with silk.  To me, a silk on silk quilt is something the beholder “admires with his eyes and not his hands” — something I tell Miss Baby whenever we are around breakables at the stores! :)  The following shows a few quilts (out of many) with which I have quilted Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton.

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I highly recommend Aurifil’s Mako 50 weight cotton for beginners and advanced machine quilters alike, and especially beginners because the fine weight is very forgiving.  It’s as if the threads “melt” into the fabrics!  So ALL these years I have only quilted with Mako 50 weight cotton threads, because they work beautifully!  I am also the type that always orders the SAME dish at the SAME restaurant almost every time (well, every single time) once I find a dish I like!  I get that from my Dad…. So, I have just been quilting with the 50 wt, and haven’t tried out the other weights.

This past week, I was asked to experiment quilting with Aurifil’s Mako 40 wt (slightly heavier than the 50wt), and then their Mako 28 wt (a little heavier than the 40 wt).  So, I broke out the Aurifil sample thread pack that many of you probably also have to get out the 40wt and 28wt spools.  Here is how my experiment turned out…. (green = 40wt, and silver gray = 28wt).

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I mainly wanted to see how tiny I can quilt with the 40wt and 28wt threads… You can see from the penny that is used as a reference, I can quilt pretty tiny with both the 40wt and 28wt threads.

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I think the tiny pebbles are a little “cleaner” quilted with the 40wt compared to the 28wt. However, considering how tiny my pebbles are compared to that penny, I think the effect is really not bad with the 28wt.

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Here is the back with the 50wt being used as bobbin thread.  Compared to the front picture, you can see that the effect of quilting with 50wt being finer and more subtle in the picture below.

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Here in this picture, you can see how the 28wt silver gray stitches show up more prominently than the 40 wt green stitches.

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SO…. what have I concluded?

  1.  28wt definitely showcases the quilting more prominently.  But as a personal choice, I probably wouldn’t use it for areas where I will have to stitch over previously stitched stitches too many times where the thread buildup will be noticeable.  With the 50wt, oftentimes, I would quilt the same path at least 5-6 times before I would start to see a thread buildup.
  2. I love that the 40wt shows the quilting a little better, and it will probably be my choice to quilt wholecloth quilts, especially when I want a strong contrast.
  3. I will, of course, keep loving to quilt with 50wt, and am now thinking about expanding the uses of the 50 wt (beyond the appliacations for which I already use) for tone-on-tone micro-fillers in a wholecloth settings, and for accents here and there.
  4. You already know I am not a fabric hoarder!  BUT I have to confess I am somewhat a thread hoarder.  I love threads more than I do fabrics.  AND…. discovering the 40wt and 28wt is not helping me with the thread hoarding issue.  HELP!
  5. Now, if you are a beginner — I encourage you to still quilt with the 50wt, until you are more comfortable in moving your quilt sandwich before you try the 40 wt and 28wt.  I think when you are still familiarizing yourself with domestic machine quilting, you will be happier with the very forgiving effects of quilting with the 50 wt.

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So you see, looking back, I loved quilting with Aurifil Mako 50wt threads. And looking forward, I will still love quilting with the 50 wt, but I will now add 40wt and 28wt in my quilting tool box!  I call that my “machine quilting growth spurt!”. :)

Thank you for stopping by, Dear Friends.  Happy Monday and Happy Week to you!

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Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #65

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Hello Friends, I am happy to share with you a “faux” long-arm free motion quilting motif that I have quilted on my latest completed quilt.  I am going to show you how “quilting off the seat of one’s pants” works out in real life using a piece of paper.  The goal is to fill the paper with the motif — exactly like how we would quilt an allover quilting motif on a quilt.  So, first let’s look at the progression of filling up a space with quilting motifs, starting from #1.  The different colors denote different repeats of the motif.

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So, here you see I “quilted” #1-9 with not much of any abnormality.  I do want you to note how I always have my “starting” swirl of each repeat going a different direction — as much as I can — that gives the overall effect a sense of movement!  I also want you to notice that the leaves aren’t in any particular shape as long as they taper inward, as well as the filler swirls I use to fill up some open space that is too small to fit another repeat of the motif.

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I sort of quilted myself in a corner at #9, and have no convenient to get out to fill the remaining open area.  No big deal, cut the thread, and find a convenient spot to start again.  Thus #10 and so on, until an entire area is filled up.

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Here is what is on paper transferred to a real quilt looks like on the back of my latest completed quilt…

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Curious what the quilt looks like on the front?  I am afraid you have to wait.  All I can tell you is that my husband loves the quilt.  He has great taste, because he…. married me!  HAHA.  Please note I am totally cracking a lame joke at that one!  Alrightie, I shall catch up with you later!

p.s.  You may click here for my other Thread Talk posts.

Repetitions : Sneak Peek

Hello Friends, I am happy to share with you my “blueberry pie filling” quilting motif.  Don’t the quilted pebbles look like blueberries nestling oh-so-snug in a pie crust?  This motif illustrates another application of “pebbles”.

Click here to read about how I quilt pebbles/circles.

Click here to view the quilts on which I have quilted pebbles.

Click here for my “Learn to Machine Quilt” class (online or DVD) that covers how I quilt pebbles.

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I quilted “blueberry pie filling” on a recently completed quilt, Repetitions.  It should already be at the editor’s by the time this post goes live.  Here are a couple more sneaky peeks for you.   Can you see the very light gray threads I used for quilting the quilt?

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The quilt uses fabrics from an upcoming Lynette Anderson‘s fabric line Quilters Garden.  It is Lynette’s debut line with RJR Fabrics.  I have MUCH more to share about Quilters Garden.

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Be sure to check back early next week for details!  Thanks for stopping by.  God’s blessings on you all!

Quilting Around the Applique Block in QUILTER’S WORLD (April 2011)


My Quilting Around the Applique Block article is out in Quilter’s World April 2011 issue. It is the second of the two-article-series on quilting planning I did for Quilter’s World. You can click here to view the project I did for the first article.  This second article focuses exclusively on quilting applique blocks, giving readers ideas on what and how to quilt applique blocks beyond the usual echoing around applique pieces.


The layout scheme is the same as the project I did for the first project. I thought that maybe one of these days, I can display both banners side by side in my dream sewing room.


I normally do machine fusible applique, finished with buttonhole stitches, for magazine projects, but I did the applique on the blocks by hand using needleturn method so that I wouldn’t have the buttonhole stitches distractingthe quilting in the close-up shots.

The article covers encouraging snippets on quilting for beginning machine quilters in background quilting.


This is a twist on echoing around the applique pieces… instead of a regular pass, a string of pearls/pebbles were quilted as an echoing pass around the applique pieces:


I also showed three different quilting treatments on the actual applique pieces in the article.


The quilt sample was made with Handspray Collection fabrics by RJR Fabrics, quilted with YLI Silk 1oo (top) and Aurifil Mako 50 Cotton (bottom) threads over Tuscany Wool Batting by Hobbs Bonded Fibers.


The 4.5-page article also includes the applique pattern for those who wants to make my project sample.  It contains many of my personal preferences on domestic machine quilting to hopefully help you further along in your machine quilting endeavor.  Get your copy today if you haven’t already!  This magazine also comes in an e-version if you prefer to read your magazines the e-way.


If you have a chance to browse through the article, I would dearly love to hear your feedback.   Thanks for stopping by.  With these pansies blossoming outside our front door, I wish you a lovely weekend!

p.s.  I have been dealing with Miss Baby’s teething issues at my end.  My email/internet/work time has been severely limited.  That’s why many of you haven’t heard from me… I hope to be able to catch up soon.  Meanwhile, I am living the life of the mother of a young child.